Factors influencing career dress selection by secondary school women teachers: a case of Nairobi province
Njeru, Sophia Njoki
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The purpose of the study was to investigate factors influencing career dress selection by secondary school women teachers in Nairobi province. The study adopted a descriptive survey research method. The specific objectives of this study were to, (1) identify shopping outlets from which respondents select career dress, (2) identify dress features, psychological and socio-economic factors influencing career dress selection by respondents, (3) describe respondents' view on possible introduction of a formal (written) dress code by their employer, (4) determine the differences between private and public school respondents with respect to selected dress features, psychological and socio-economic factors influencing career dress selection and (5) examine the relationships between selected variables influencing career dress selection. The data used in the study were collected using a self-administered questionnaire. A sample of 111 women teachers was drawn from 20 secondary schools, in Nairobi, both private and public. Data were collected between May and July 2000. The data were analysed by the use of frequencies and percentages. Inferential statistics namely, chi-square Test for Independence and t-test were also computed. The study revealed that psychological factors that mostly influenced women teachers are, one's beliefs or values, cost of the item, dress in which one looks beautiful and garment styles that suit one's figure type. All dress features greatly influenced respondents' career dress selection, except the label information. This was of secondary importance to respondents’ career dress selection. Item is well constructed and finished, suitability for work and fitting characteristics are among the dress features that influenced a higher percentage of respondents. The socio-economic factors that had most influence on respondents' career dress were amount of money available, number of dependants and occupation None of the selected variables analysed by chi-square test for independence showed any relationship in influencing career dress selection. The variables investigated included, expenditure on career dress and age; use of dress sales and employment income levels, and ; introduction of a formal (written) dress code and teaching experience, among others. Further, t-test results showed no difference between respondents from both private and public schools on selected factors influencing career dress selection. The factors were categorized as dress features, psychological and socio-economic. Findings, revealed that majority of women teachers are opposed to possible introduction of a formal (written) dress code by their employer. This is due to the need for individuality as women have different preferences on career dress. Further, some career dress styles are unacceptable. These styles include mini skirt or dress, transparent clothing and tight fitting (figure hugging) clothing, among others. Results showed that the most utilized sources of information on career dress are, dress displays and personal communication channels, for instance, family members, tailors and women friends among others. This is because there is no charge for obtaining information and reference persons offer truthful ideas concerning career dress. Impersonal communication channels such as print and electronic media, catalogues, website, dress-for-success type of books are underutilized or unpopular with respondents for being unavailable and costly.